Instant Pot Pot Roast: The Ultimate Guide - Instant Pot Cooking (2023)

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Instant Pot Pot Roast is probably both one the most sought out Instant Pot recipes and also one of the most confusing for beginners. Questions abound with it. Is pot roast better in the Instant Pot than the old fashioned low and slow method, or at least as good? How can you assure that your Instant Pot pot roast is tender? How long should it cook?

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In short, yes, you can get very good pot roast from the Instant Pot, and it is quicker than the low and slow method, although it still does take a good amount of time to do properly. This guide will take you through the key points of making a great pressure cooker pot roast and provide my tried and true recipe. Yes, pot roast can be easy!

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Traditional Pot Roast v. Instant Pot Pot Roast

It seems like every time a person asks in a social media group for an Instant Pot roast beef recipe, a fair number of people chime in telling people not to do it and asserting that the best roast will always come from traditional methods. I think there is a valid basis for that in that I personally believe that a good roast cooked low and slow for many hours will always be the superior product. BUT Instant Pot pot roast can be nearly the same and done in less time. For a person without access to an oven or who wants a quicker version, the Instant Pot is a great way to make roast beef.

The Best Cut of Meat for Pot Roast

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A great Instant pot beef roast starts with a good cut of beef. Normally, tougher cuts work best for pot roast as they havehigh amounts of collagen that, when cooked over a long period of time, breaks down into gelatin which tenderizes the meat.

Chuck roast is traditionally considered the best cut for pot roast, followed by round roast and/or brisket. For the Instant Pot, I have used both chuck and round, with chuck being my strong preference.

Cooking Time for Instant Pot Pot Roast

The Instant Pot website lists the cooking time for small chunks of beef roast at15-20 minutes per 450 grams or 1 pound and large chunks at 20-25 minutes per 450 grams or 1 pound. I prefer roasting a large roast that is not cut into chunks to avoid accidentally overcooking or drying it. That also assures that the collagen is spread through the whole roast. I cook at 25 minutes per pound and typically use a three pound roast. So 75 minutes is about perfect for that. You will see some suggest 90 minutes for any roast, but I have seen reports of overcooked roasts with that length of time, and a generic time that does not consider the weight of the roast is not very helpful. However, overcooking usually won’t harm things too much other than causing a loss of flavor and some drying.

Very small roasts can be tricky. I suggest adding more time, even perhaps doubling it, than the normal 20-25 minutes per pound for a small (such as 1 pound) roast.

(Video) Instant Pot Roast (Best Ever - Literally)

Natural Release is also key to a good Instant Pot roast. If impatient, give the natural release at least 15 minutes. My full natural release took 25 minutes. Doing so helps lock in the juices and keep the meat moist. It seems that many times when a person reports getting a tough roast they either pressure cooked it for too short of a time, or they used quick release. So, once quick release is used, your 3 pound roast will actually take longer, around 100 minutes.

Add in the 10 minutes or so that it take for the pot to come to pressure, it is 110 minutes, and cooking the vegetables separately adds another 15 or so. Ultimately, my recipe takes about 125 -130 minutes, or a bit over two hours. Two hours and 30 minutes or so if you also consider preparation time. But my low and slow version takes around 6 hours!

What about cooking from frozen? I have seen recipes for it that simply add on another 20-30 minutes of cook time. However, I personally do not recommend it. For consistent results, starting with thawed meat is best.

About the Vegetables in an Instant Pot Beef Roast

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One of the big challenges of making a pot roast in the Instant Pot is avoiding mushy vegetables. Many recipes put them in with the roast, which leads to disintegrated onions, mushy carrots, and mashed potatoes. Other recipes wrap the veggies in foil to protect them a bit, but those too get reports of mushy veggies. Plus, I like to have my carrots and potatoes soak up the wonderful flavor of the beef broth and onions. They won’t get that wrapped in foil. I also am not the biggest fan of pressure cooking foil with my food, although I do occasionally do so.

My solution is to pressure cook the beef roast first, remove it to a plate and tent it with foil, add the vegetables to the broth, and pressure cook for 5 minutes. Use 2-3 minutes for firmer vegetables and 8-10 for softer. It doesn’t hurt the meat to rest a bit like that anyway. I do cook initially with onions as well, but I add more at the end to have some firmer onions in the mix.

Tips for the Best Instant Pot Pot Roast

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So, with all that background in mind, I have found that there are a few key tips to making a good Instant Pot roast.

  • Start with good tried and true cut of meat. So, use a chuck roast. In a pinch a round roast might suffice.
  • Use a good amount of flavoring. In my case I cook in beef broth and use Montreal Steak seasoning, onion soup mix, and bay leaves.
  • Pressure cook the roast for at least 20 minutes per pound.
  • Natural release, preferably a full natural release, but if impatient, try to get at least 20 minutes.
  • Pressure cook the vegetables separately to avoid mushy veggies.

How to Make Instant Pot Pot Roast

So, here is my basic Instant Pot pot roast recipe (a recipe card is also below). This is an adaptation of my long time favorite low and slow traditional method roast. Its secret ingredients are Montreal Steak Seasoning and a packet of onion soup mix. They give awesome flavor to to the roast!

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Coat the beef roast with olive oil and rub a generous amount of Montreal Steak Seasoning on all sides of the roast. Then sear the beef in the pot using the saute function. After searing, remove the beef and add a chopped onion with a small splash of beef broth to deglaze the pot. Once deglazed, pour in the remaining broth and add a trivet.

(Video) Easy Instant Pot Pot Roast (Tender and Juicy)

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Place the beef roast on the trivet and pour a package of onion soup mix over it. Set two or three bay leaves on top.

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Pressure cook on high pressure at 25 minutes per pound, followed by natural release. Then remove the roast from the pot.

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Add vegetables to the pot and pressure cook for 5 minutes. I add baby potatoes, carrots, celery, and onion to mine.

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To serve, cut the roast against the grain or cut into chunks and serve with the vegetables and a ladle of the broth. You can also make a gravy by removing the vegetables, then making a cornstarch slurry and adding it to the pot to thicken the broth. But I prefer to serve my roast without gravy, and I include a savory bread, such as my Savory Jalapeno Irish Soda Bread, or a good grainy wheat bread, to use to soak up the broth.

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The roast is tender and juicy with lots of flavor.

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(Video) How to Use an Instant Pot - Instant Pot 101 - Beginner? Start HERE!

Here is the Recipe card:

Instant Pot Pot Roast: The Ultimate Guide - Instant Pot Cooking (13)

Instant Pot Pot Roast: The Ultimate Guide

Yield: 4-6

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours 10 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes

Instant Pot Pot Roast: How to make the best pot roast in the Instant Pot. A full guide and tried and true pot roast recipe


  • 3 lb Chuck roast
  • 1-2 T olive oil
  • Montreal Steak Seasoning (enough to generously coat the roast)
  • 1 Package of onion soup mix
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 small to medium onions, thickly sliced or chopped
  • 1 small bag of baby carrots (or 6-8 carrots, thickly cut)
  • 1 pound baby potatoes
  • 4 stalks of celery, thickly cut


  1. Rub the roast with olive oil.
  2. Generously coat with Montreal Steak seasoning.
  3. Using the Instant Pot Saute function, sear the beef on all sides, then set aside.
  4. Add a splash of broth to the pot and stir, scraping up any brown bits to deglaze it.
  5. Add one chopped onion to the pot and cover with a trivet.
  6. Pour in 1 cup of beef broth.
  7. Place the roast on top of the trivet.
  8. Pour one packet of onion soup mix over the roast and top with 2-3 bay leaves.
  9. Pressure cook on high pressure for 25 minutes per pound, or 75 minutes for a 3 lb roast.
  10. Use natural release for at least 25 minutes.
  11. Remove the roast and cover with a foil tent.
  12. Add the carrots, one chopped onion, celery, and potatoes to the pot.
  13. Pressure cook on high pressure for 5 minutes, or 2-3 minutes for for firmer vegetables, or 8-10 minutes for extra soft vegetables.
  14. Cut the roast against the grain or into chunks.
  15. Serve the vegetables and roast with a ladle of broth and a good crusty bread.
  16. Enjoy!
(Video) The BEST (and EASIEST) Instant Pot Roast You Will Ever Make!
Nutrition Information:

Amount Per Serving:Calories: 325Total Fat: 16gSodium: 1225mgCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 26.8g

A good related recipe is our Instant Pot Corned Beef and Cabbage recipe!

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(Video) Instant Pot Classic Pot Roast | Boneless Chuck Roast Recipe


How long does a 4 lb roast take in an Instant Pot? ›

FAQ: If you do not have the same size cut of meat as called for in the recipe, assume 20 minutes of cook time for every pound of meat. So a 4-pound roast will need 80 minutes of cook time and a 5-pound roast will need 100 minutes of cook time.

Why is my Instant Pot roast so tough? ›

If your roast is tough in the Instant Pot, it likely needs to be cooked longer. Chuck roast will become more tender the longer it cooks, so extra time may be needed. However, you can overcook beef in the Instant Pot, so keep an eye on it if you add extra time.

How long should I pressure cook a 2 pound roast? ›

For a frozen pot roast, skip searing the roast. Instead, pour the beef broth into the inner pot and stir in the salt, pepper, and onion powder. Add the frozen roast to the inner pot and top with garlic and horseradish. Cook on high pressure for 30 minutes per pound with a 10-20 minute natural pressure release.

How long does a 3lb roast take to cook? ›

Place the roast back into the pot and add enough beef stock to cover the meat halfway. Add in the onions and the carrots, along with the fresh herbs. Put the lid on, then roast for 3 hours for a 3-pound roast. For a 4 to 5-pound roast, plan on 4 hours.

Is it better to slow cook or pressure cook a roast? ›

Some people prefer a roast that has more substance, so if you do, the Instant Pot is the winner. I have tried cooking a roast for up to 120 minutes in the Instant Pot and the texture still didn't match a slow cooker, but every 10 minutes of added pressure cooking will definitely make the meat more tender.

What setting do you use to roast? ›

Roasting is typically used for foods with a solid structure such as vegetables and meats, roasting uses the bake setting at 400ºF (204ºC) or higher to brown the surface and develop flavor.

Does meat get more tender the longer you Pressure Cook it? ›

All Cuts of Meat Can Become More Tender in a Pressure Cooker

This is where a pressure cooker really starts to shine. Because of the high-pressure environment created inside the cooker, meat (like everything else you may want to throw into your pressure cooker) can cook extremely quickly relative to other methods.

Can you overcook a roast in a pressure cooker? ›

Can You Overcook Meat in a Pressure Cooker? The short answer is yes. And, unfortunately, once you overcook a piece of meat in the pressure cooker, there's no going back. All you'll have left will be a heap of dry, crunchy fibers with no taste.

How long does a 2.5 lb roast take to cook? ›

Regardless of the size of your roast, aim for cooking at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C), for 20 minutes per pound.

Does roast get more tender the longer you cook it? ›

Does chuck roast get more tender the longer you cook it? It does! The secret to an incredible beef chuck roast recipe is to let it cook for long enough. I cook my chuck roast for 6 hours and 20 minutes, and by the time it's done it's fall-apart tender with soft carrots and potatoes all cooked in the same pot.

Does quick release make meat tough? ›

Quick release does not necessarily make your meat tough. There are many recipes that have a longer cook time, so doing a quick release is better. It really just depends on what you are making. However, if the recipe calls for a natural release and you do a quick release, then yes your meat could come out tough.

Do you cover meat with liquid in pressure cooker? ›

While you may cover meat almost completely for a conventional braise, use just enough liquid for the cooker to reach pressure – during pressure cooking the meat will release it's own juice and braise in that flavorful liquid, instead.

How do you tenderize a roast in a pressure cooker? ›

Bring up to full pressure over medium-high heat, and cook for 20 minutes. Carefully release pressure according to the manufacturer's instructions. Check to make sure meat is fork tender. Let the meat rest for 15 minutes.

Can you overcook meat pressure cooker? ›

Unfortunately, once you overcook a piece of meat in the pressure cooker, there's no going back. You'll be left with a pile of dry, crunchy, tasteless fibers and no amount of additional pressure cooking is going to put that moisture back into the meat. Earlier, I explained how ingredient size affects the cooking time.

How many people will a 3 lb chuck roast feed? ›

A serving size is about 3 ounces, which is about the size of a deck of playing cards. A 3-pound roast will make about eight servings.

How long does it take to cook a 2.75 lb roast? ›

Place the roast in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375 F (190 C). Roast for about 13-15 minutes per pound for rare, 17-19 minutes for medium, and 22-25 for cooked through.

Why is my chuck roast so tough? ›

If the pot roast or chuck roast is tough, it is because it needs more cooking time. As the beef cooks the muscles and connective tissues break down and this makes the beef tender. Also, if you cook the roast at a high temperature, the roast will be tough. Since you are using the slow cooker, this is not an issue.

How long to pressure cook vs slow cook? ›

As for convenience, because a pressure cooker cooks so darn fast, you aren't sacrificing all that much on that front, either. Anything that takes eight hours to cook in a slow cooker can be cooked in about 45 minutes in a pressure cooker, and most things cook much, much faster even than that.

What cooking method is ideal for chuck roast? ›

Braising is the best way to tenderize chuck roast because it breaks down the fat into tender, juicy pieces.

Is roast setting same as convection? ›

Both top and bottom heating elements are found in convection ovens, but not all heating elements are used for all cooking settings. Convection baking uses the bottom heating element almost all of the time, whereas convection roasting uses both the upper and lower heating elements.

When cooking a roast fat side up or down? ›

5. Place roast fat side up / bone side down on the rack. Placing your roast fat side up lets the fat melt and flow down, moistening the meat as it cooks. There are debates on whether the fat would be enough to baste the lean meat as it melts down, but it makes the surface crispier.

Should meat be browned before pressure cooking? ›

Even if you are making stew, it's better to brown the meat as a whole first. Season the meat with kosher salt and black pepper on both sides right before browning. Wait until your pressure cooker is piping hot. If you are using an Instant Pot, don't use the saute function.

How much water do I put in pressure cooker for meat? ›

Add 1 1/2 cups of liquid (water, stock, etc.). Cook for 20 minutes (per pound of meat) at high pressure for large chunks and 15 minutes (per pound of meat) for small chunks. Use a quick pressure release method.

How do you make super tender meat? ›

8 Simple Ways to Make Tough Meat Tender
  1. Physically tenderize the meat. ...
  2. Use a marinade. ...
  3. Don't forget the salt. ...
  4. Let it come up to room temperature. ...
  5. Cook it low-and-slow. ...
  6. Hit the right internal temperature. ...
  7. Rest your meat. ...
  8. Slice against the grain.
26 Jan 2018

Can you pressure cook with too much water? ›

Adding too much liquid can leave you with a finished dish that lacks flavor, or a sauce that's too thin. Follow this tip: While at least 1/2 to 1 cup of liquid is essential to well-cooked food in the pressure cooker, too much liquid will pull the flavor out of foods.

How many does a 2 pound roast feed? ›

Beef round roasts will yield 3-1/2 to 4 three-ounce servings of cooked, trimmed beef per pound.

How long do you cook a 2 pound beef roast? ›

Common Names
Approx weightRare (125 °F)Medium (145 °F)
2 lb56 min1 hr 15 min
3 lb1 hr1 hr 21 min
4 lb1 hr 8 min1 hr 28 min
5 lb1 hr 15 min1 hr 36 min

What temp does roast start to fall apart? ›

What temp does pot roast fall apart? . Chuck roast should be cooked to an internal temperature of 190-195 degrees F to be fall apart tender. The high internal temperature allows collagen to break down, making the meat melt in your mouth tender.

Why is my roast beef always tough? ›

It's overcooked. Overcooking meat causes it to dry out, and as moisture is lost, the meat gets tougher and so harder to chew. It was cooked at too high a temperature. For soft and tender meat, it's always better to cook it low and slow than to heat it very quickly, which causes the protein in the meat to toughen.

How do I make my roast not tough? ›

All you need to do is continue cooking. Pot roasts are usually tough cuts, full of dense muscles and connective tissue. They need long, slow cooking to soften the muscles and melt the connective tissues into juicy, rich natural gelatin.

How do you tenderize a roast before cooking? ›

Pounding softens and tenderizes meat, making it easier to cut and eat. One of the easiest — and cleanest — ways to do this is to sandwich the meat between a couple pieces of plastic wrap or wax paper and pound it before cooking.

How do restaurants get their meat so tender? ›

Baking soda (Sodium bicarbonate). If you find the meat has a spongy texture aside from being very tender, then very likely the restaurant put baking soda (Sodium bicarbonate) in the marinade. The sodium in baking soda chemically reacts with the meat and make the meat very tender and soft.

What is the fastest way to tenderize beef? ›


Using a meat mallet (or kitchen mallet) to pound steaks helps soften and tenderize the meat. Simply place the meat in between pieces of plastic wrap or wax paper and pound it prior to cooking. If you don't have a meat mallet, you can also use a heavy kitchen tool such as a skillet, saucepan or rolling pin.

What happens if you pressure cook without liquid? ›

Can a Pressure Cooker Be Used Without Water? It is important to never run a pressure cooker without water. It cannot cook your food properly without water, and the pressure will build to such an extent that the lid, pressure valve, plugs, and hot food could be thrown all over the kitchen.

What should you not cook in a pressure cooker? ›

6 Things You Should Never Cook in an Instant Pot
  • Creamy Sauces. If there's one food group you should avoid in the Instant Pot, it's dairy. ...
  • Fried Chicken. The best fried chicken is crisp on the outside, juicy on the inside and perfectly golden brown. ...
  • Cookies. ...
  • Burgers. ...
  • Pie. ...
  • Steak.

Should roast be completely covered with liquid? ›

It doesn't matter if it is covered or not. The inside of the slow cooker will be warm enough to cook the meat. Braising (not submerged) and simmering (submerged) are two methods which both can lead to good results.

Does instant coffee tenderize meat? ›

Coffee rub on steak can also act as a tenderizer, making meat softer and enhancing the moisture of the meat by creating a sealed crust of flavor.

How long does it take for meat to become tender in a pressure cooker? ›

In general, you will need twenty minutes of cooking time at pressure for every pound of meat. So, a 3-pound roast takes 60 minutes at high pressure before it is tender.

How long does it take to tenderize meat in a pressure cooker? ›

Steam penetrates food easily under pressure. So connective tissues in cubes of beef for soups or stews soften in 15 minutes or less, and a pot roast will be medium-rare in 30 minutes.

How long should I pressure cook beef? ›

Sear roast on all sides in hot oil until browned; season with salt, onion powder, and pepper. Pour in beef broth and Worcestershire sauce; add onion and seal the lid. Bring the cooker up to full pressure. Reduce heat to low, maintaining full pressure, and cook for 30 minutes.

How long does it take a 4 lb roast to cook? ›

This roast cooks at 450°F for 15 minutes and then 25 - 30 minutes per pound at 325°F for a boneless, medium cooked roast. For a 4 pound roast, this is 1 hours 45 minutes for medium, or 2 hours for medium well done.

How long does it take to cook 4 pounds of beef? ›

Roast for about 13-15 minutes per pound for rare, 17-19 minutes for medium, and 22-25 for cooked through. Check the meat with a thermometer to make sure it is the temperature you want it--145°F for medium rare, 160°F for medium.

How long to cook 4 lb roast well done? ›

Roast Beef Cooking Times & Temperatures
  1. 18 minutes per pound for rare.
  2. 20 minutes per pound for medium-rare.
  3. 22 minutes per pound for well done.

How long does it take to cook a 4 1/2 pound roast? ›

Regardless of the size of your roast, aim for cooking at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C), for 20 minutes per pound.

How many people will a 4 pound chuck roast feed? ›

When Meat Is the Main. When cooking something like steak, chicken, or pork, where meat is the main feature of the meal and paired with a few side dishes, we recommend about 1/2 pound (eight ounces) per person, or up to 3/4 (12 ounces) pound for bigger appetites and those who love leftovers.

How long should you cook a 5 lb roast for? ›

Approximately 15 minutes for searing the roast at 450 °F prior to roasting and approximately 15 minutes for the roast to rest before serving.
Common Names.
Approx weightRare (125 °F)Medium (145 °F)
5 lb1 hr 20 min1 hr 41 min
6 lb1 hr 35 min2 hr
7 lb1 hr 51 min2 hr 15 min
8 lb2 hr 9 min2 hr 33 min
1 more row

How many people will a 4 pound roast beef feed? ›

4 people – 1.3 pounds

There you have it! Over—or under—buying beef is now a thing of the past.

Is 1 pound of beef enough for 4 people? ›

A question we often get is “How much meat do I need?” The starting rule of thumb is: Boneless Meat: 1/2 lb. per person for adults and 1/4 lb. per person for children.

How do you cook beef so its tender? ›

Cook It Slowly

This is certainly true when it comes to notoriously tough cuts of meat like beef brisket and pork shoulder. Cooking these cuts of meat slowly, either by braising, stewing or grill roasting, is the best way to get these tasty cuts of meat meltingly tender.

How long does it take to cook a 4lb sirloin roast? ›

Bake the roast uncovered for about 15 minutes per pound, or until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the roast reads between 115°F to 125°F, depending on desired final doneness.

How long do you cook a 6lb roast beef? ›

Place beef in hot pan and sear until deep golden brown on all sides. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast for about 15 minutes per pound for medium-rare, making an approximate hour of cooking time.

How long does it take to cook a 3.5 lb roast beef well done? ›

If you're up for some light math, here's a rule of thumb: For every pound of meat you're roasting at 350°F, it will take approximately 18 minutes for rare, 20 minutes for medium, and 25 minutes for well-done.

Should chuck roast be well done? ›

Roasts include cuts of beef like round roasts, rump roasts and chuck roasts and their internal temperature should read 145°F (medium-rare), 160°F (medium) or 170° (well done).

How long does a 2.5 lb chuck roast take to cook? ›

Most beef roasts take about 25 minutes per pound at 350 degrees to reach a safe internal temperature of 145 degrees F. However, the longer you cook a chuck roast (to an extent), the more tender it gets. For fall-apart tender chuck roast, cook for about 45 minutes per pound at 350 degrees.

How many minutes per pound do you cook a roast at 325? ›

Bake 12 to 15 minutes per pound at 325 degrees F to heat throughout. Bake 30 minutes per pound until Internal Temperature reaches 185 to 190 degrees F. Or Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. OR Broil 10 minutes each side.


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